What the Cow Pies Did to Our Berries – And Other Things


Where it Started

We’d been living in our new house for a few months when we found the blackberry bushes along a path by the woods. It was pretty slim picking, but we braved the thorns and thistles to reach in through the brambles to fill our buckets. I was delighted because every place we’d lived there had been blackberry bushes of some sort or another. This place was where we planned to stay, and the blackberries were another confirmation that we’d like it here!

The next summer, one of my boys came bopping into the house to find me.

“Mama,” he begged, “close your eyes and open your mouth. “

I just looked at him. He had his hands behind his back, and I knew they were none too clean because he’d been playing outside.

“Please, Mama! Just do it!”

So I did.

He plopped a fresh, ripe blackberry into my mouth.  Yummmmm!  It was so sweet and full of flavor.

“Where did you find these?!” I asked.

“Out in the field. We were just walking through the field to get to the woods, and I saw some bushes. I saw them a long time ago, and I’ve been watching them, waiting for them to get ripe.”

This guy loves secrets and fruit; and he knows I love blackberries. He was delighted with his surprise. For weeks, he’d been watching those bushes. First white blossoms, then green berries. Slowly they changed to pink, then red. And finally, the long-awaited berries were black and ready to pick.Blackberries for blog

How It Started

There were just a few bushes in the pasture then. We picked around each bush, reaching into the center to get the berries hidden from view. I made blackberry jam and blackberry cobbler.

You can get my Quick Cobbler recipe here.

We froze some and had enough for the winter. My freezer has been stocked with blackberries ever since.

Twenty years later, the blackberry bushes have infiltrated this pasture.

Each year, more bushes popped up in places they’d never been before. We’ve cut paths through some of them, but they just keep multiplying. We can no longer reach inside to the center of the bushes.

One year our boys took two vehicles out to the pasture and parked them on each side of a bush. Then they placed a twenty-foot ladder across the top. They thought it was great fun to climb across that ladder and reach down into the middle of the bushes. We’ve also laid ladders across the edges of the bushes so we can reach more berries.

And the bushes just keep multiplying.

blackberry huge bush
Yes, that entire section is one blackberry bush! I call that a medium size bush. We have larger bushes, and we have one that I call huge. I couldn’t get a photo of the entire bush with my camera so I’m using this one instead.

Why It Started

One of the reasons the bushes have grown and spread is fertilization by the cattle we’ve had in the pasture.

cows and hay

As the cows splatter their pies in the pasture, the seeds in their manure take root in the soil and sprout.


Still another reason could be that our country home is surrounded by birds of many species. As they pick the fruit off the bushes, they fly away, dropping bits on the ground. Along with the birds, there are butterflies and other insects that feast on the berries. They fly from bush to bush, from berry to berry and feed on other flowers in the pasture as well.

blackberry insect
Even after the berries are picked, the insects try to enjoy the sweetness.

So whether by land or by air, the seeds have settled into the soil and produced bushes that are overtaking the pasture. That’s a good thing when you want as many bushes as you can get so you have plenty of blackberries.

Yep. This pasture reaps what has been sown. It’s a good thing.

blackberry moth partly hidden
This butterfly has been very busy!

When It Started

It’s another thing when we’re talking about things like attitudes and behavior.

I thought about that a lot this morning when I was out in the pasture picking berries for over an hour.  It’s hard work, picking those berries. I come away pricked and scratched, hot and sweaty and thirsty.

Oh, did I mention grouchy? That, too. I am not a happy camper when I’m scratched, pricked, bleeding, sweaty and thirsty.

There’s no lack of bushes or berries out there now, thanks to you-know-what in the pasture.

blackberry red berries

As we go through life, we ruminate on things that happen to us.  It’s the way we are made.

We are creatures of feelings and emotions. We’re going to respond in one way or another to what happens in our world.

Cows and other animals (cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and antelope) have one stomach with four compartments. They ruminate and chew their cud over and over. By the time food passes through their system (going from one compartment to another), one can’t tell what they ate or where they found it.

Who Started It

It’s proof that what goes in comes out.

It’s proof that the thoughts we repeatedly ruminate on can become so distorted that we often don’t remember where or why the bandwagon of negative thoughts ever started in the first place.

So the attitudes and habits I breathe into myself will end up showing up somewhere down the road – down the beaten pasture path.

It’s a guarantee that there will be some kind of fruit from those attitudes and habits. It all depends on what I’ve ingested and where it lands when it comes out.

blackberry large black one

Sometimes, I grant you, life is the berries: full of thorns and briers and prickles.

I can focus on the thorns, or I can focus on growing fruit.

And sometimes, I get to taste positive results of my efforts. When I’ve filled myself with good and ruminated on those things that are “true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, and commendable”, it will show in the fruit of my life.

It will show in the words coming out of my mouth as well as how I act.

The Cow Pies – that’s What

Year after year, our bushes have produced a bounty of berries – forty gallons in a few weeks’ picking in the summer. That’s because they’ve been fertilized and re-seeded by the continual presence of cattle and the bird droppings in our pasture.

blackberries leaves and berries GOOD

So how about we consider more carefully the attitudes we are tempted to harbor – and remember that what goes in will come out?

How about we become more careful of what we ingest – for it’s bound to show up later in another pasture.

How about we focus our rumination on good things rather than the negative?

Whether it’s what we eat, how much we exercise, or the thoughts that we allow to be a part of us; whether it’s the places we go or don’t go – we will reap bountifully of whatever it is that we sow. Our blackberry bushes would never have grown to where they are now if the seeds had not been dropped in that pasture.

There’s a reason God used the parallel of sowing and reaping when it comes to producing fruit.  There’s a reason we should think about the fruit we want to have – because without sowing that specific seed, we will never experience the fruit.

Who Gets the Fruit

Year after year, my family enjoys blackberry jam and blackberry cobbler because of those bushes in our pasture.

blackberry buckets butterfly

Year after year, we can reap fruit – if only we will sow the seed. 

How about we concentrate on sowing the seed of the specific fruit we want to someday reap?

blackberry red and black

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